Religious services for the public of all faiths in Greece are banned between April 12 and 20, a joint decision by the Ministries of Education & Religion and of Health said on Monday. The ban is an extension of the previous one imposed on March 16, and ahead of the Greek Orthodox Easter on April 19.
The ban is valid across the Greek territory and is independent from the size and the capacity of the place of worship
Services may be carried out behind closed doors by a single religious representative and assistants (chanter, for example). Assistants can be no more than 4 in total.
Worship gatherings of all religions behind closed doors are not allowed in places of worship on private properties, inside buildings etc..
The public is banned from visiting monasteries either individually or in groups. Monasteries may perform their duties, as long as there are no visitors present.
Religious services may be broadcast live on television, radio and on the Internet.
The Holy synod and the government have repeatedly urged the faithful to stay away form the churches during the pandemic.
However, some priests continued to defy the ban and open the churches to congregation.
Now, everybody is curious about how priests and congregation will behave during the Holy Week, Resurrection night and Easter Sunday, especially if the Holy fire is brought to Greece from Israel on Resurrection Saturday.
The government has leaked to the press that it intends to have police patrolling outside churches and that it would not hesitate even to have faithful arrested if they violate the movement restrictions ban.